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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/85

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35
Rough Outlines

necessary in order that the rights of all individuals may be respected. From this truth comes the grand collectivist or communist idea of social property which is the leading light of the Socialist proletariat in its many-sided and laborious effort.

But this general idea, however clear and well defined it be, is not sufficient to decide the method to be employed or the innumerable combinations by means of which Socialism will be instituted. It is certain that the direction of economic evolution will itself determine the infinitely complex relations according to which the new society will be organised. A few general formulæ will not suffice to transform society. It will be necessary to observe constantly the trend of affairs, to grasp the points at which the society of to-day touches the new idea. Our effort would be sterile and our action would hinder the march of events instead of aiding it, if we did not determine the direction which facts, minds, inclinations, and customs are taking.

I come back to the same concrete example. I have shown the blind evolution that is taking place in the holdings of the peasantry, a change unconscious and hidden, by which, if I may say so, the spirit of ownership is being renewed. There is a period of almost a month and a half during the year, a particularly active period too, when the peasant proprietors associate themselves in groups over quite an extended area and work with one another and for one another. Hardly